Tuesday, April 24, 2018

On the Harbor: Meet Lt. Chris Corn, OC Sheriff’s Harbormaster

Dana Point Recycling Center
I counted how long I have been writing my Harbor Column – 13 years – and I had to use three hands to count which gets much more confusing to me. I started counting the years because I was looking back on how many times I have written: “There is a new sheriff in town.”
While attending this month’s Harbor Commission meeting and reviewing the previous month’s minutes, I noticed that Lt. Mark Alsobrook had informed the commission that he was being replaced by Lt. Chris Corn. I was kind of bummed because Alsobrook left without even saying goodbye. I reached out by email to Alsobrook thanking him for his two and a half years of service to the harbor, and unfortunately never heard back from him. Over the last eight years, the harbor has been extremely fortunate to have had five harbormasters that have been very approachable and easy to talk to. Of the five, Alsobrook went the extra mile and attended most of the Harbor Commission meetings himself.
Lt. Corn

I will be reaching out to our new harbormaster Lt. Chris Corn over the next week for an interview. On my first attempt to contact Lt. Corn, I was placed on internal hold and never followed back up. My gut tells me it’s not going to be as easy for Corn with the change of mooring management and harbor services being transferred to the city. For example, is there one of two Harbormasters that we have now? The county’s website has him listed as the harbormaster, and as we approach the first anniversary of Harbor Services, the newlyweds are still unclear on who is tasked with what within our harbor.
That statement is a bit of an exaggeration although from my observations there are a few things that still need to be ironed out. For example, at the last Harbor Commission meeting, there was a resident complaining about the noise level at night. Seems that this resident has been kept up at night with people partying out on their boats located on moorings in front of their house. The resident has called Harbor Services but they close down at 17:00; the resident then calls the Sheriff’s Harbor Department that informs them they are no longer tasked with managing the moorings. At this point, my mind flashes back to the old TV show the “Newlywed Game" and I snicker at the thought of having the two harbormasters on a panel and asking them questions to write down answers on the back of a card. Anyway, back to the noise question and how to resolve it when you have some people parting too loud on the harbor in the early hours of the morning. I’m not sure if this is in effect yet, but city staff is looking into the idea of using the city lifeguards to respond to late night complaints. With the lifeguards on call 24/7 with access to boats and the ability to ticket, this was the simple answer. Have to wonder about the response time for the lifeguards, but hey...baby steps, right?
Speaking of baby steps, it was 2008 when then Sheriff’s Harbormaster Deana Bergquist felt the need to strictly enforce the harbor speed limit of 5 knots. As you might recall, there was a bit of a community uproar, and policy on the harbor was quickly changed back to allow certain harbor users to exceed the speed limit. Now, because of the hard work of harbor commissioners Blank and Drayton, the concept of a permitting process for the harbor users to formalize the speed limit exception will now go before city council...and with its blessing...be forwarded to the Department of Boating and Waterways. Confidence is high that this process will be accepted by the two agencies.
More good news was discovered at the Harbor Commission meeting when John Kappeler, a city senior engineer tasked with harbor water quality, grabbed my attention when he started talking about Marine Recycling Centers being placed around the harbor. I first noticed Marine Recycling Centers in Dana Point and Cabrillo Beach in 2011 and threw out the idea then of having them here in Newport Beach. The city came close one other time to having these centers but was stalled by the different agencies involved. It looks really positive at this time, that these centers will be open very soon.
I thought I’d give you all a little heads up – seems like the sea lions are returning, as I heard the loud barking from a couple of boats and docks this week. For all of you waterfront homeowners and boat owners – check on your sea lion deterrence. Have to wonder if the lifeguards will respond to sea lions barking in the middle of the night...
Sea ya

Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

On the Harbor: What’s happening in Spring?

Spring has arrived, and the harbor is blooming. The removal of the mooring cans in front of Newport Harbor Yacht Club (NHYC) indicates that a swarm of Harbor 20s will soon be showing up to team race in two different events from April 9 - 14.
The first event on April 9 and 10 is the Palmer Grandmasters, followed by the main event – the Baldwin Cup taking place April 12 - 14. You might ask what is the difference between the two events? The simple answer is the old folks’ race is the Palmer and the kids’ race is the Baldwin. Which is kind of cool, because us old guys still like to have our day in the sun.

I won’t be competing in this event, because I have no clue how to team race, and frankly I have never reached the skill level these competitors have. I always defer to the NHYC website for its team racing definition: “Team racing, like most traditional team sports, involves strategy, advanced skill, and teamwork. However, unlike other fleet racing, team racing pits a team of four against another team of four boats. This added dimension forces players to have a tremendous amount of boat-handling ability and quick reactions.
 “The key to watching these races and understanding if your team is winning the race is counting the place of each of your team’s boats, and if that number is less than 18, your team is winning the race. This is why you’ll see leading boats turn around and try to slow down the opposing team’s boats, making an effort to have their teammate pass an opponent.”

I have written this before…the excitement level has increased tremendously. While attending these events, the umpires are “informed” of their bad calls. Yes, team racing has umpires on the water similar to an umpire on the baseball field. Quite often you will hear the gallery shouting, “Come on, ump! Make a call!”
If this peaks your interest, you can go to http://baldwincup.com/racing/web-cam to watch the action. I will be on the docks drinking one or two of the 25 cent beers, heckling the umpires and telling the old guys to pull their pants up and get back in the race. Always good times and I will buy you a beer if you see me and tell me you read my column. 
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Other activities around the harbor include the 71st Newport to Ensenada yacht race scheduled April 27 - 29 along with the 55th Annual Lily Call Bay Fishing Tournament April 28 and 29 hosted by the Balboa Angling Club.
I know more about team racing than I do about fishing, and what I’ve noticed is the number of people fishing in the harbor with their game faces on. It’s rather obvious who is competing because there is no lawn chair or beverage cooler next to them. These fishermen are taking notes and climbing fences to find the right spots. Here are the details of the event: 4# Test Max in Newport Harbor for Croaker, Corbina, Halibut, and Bass. It is limited to the first 75 anglers and entries must be received by Wednesday, April 25. The cost is $40 per person with an awards banquet at the Chicken Coop on Sunday, April 29 at 4 p.m. I’m a huge fan of the Balboa Angling Club, so if you’re still looking for ways to get your kids involved with the harbor, this is the place at 200 A Street, right next to Hills Fuel Dock.
We’ll be sailing in the Ensenada race this year aboard the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon. This will be No. 33 for me, and I’ve never been more ready to get off the starting line. The owner of the boat can’t make it this year and threw me the keys. It’s the same feeling as my father throwing me the keys to the car for the first time. We’ll be flying the BCYC burgee and have put together a solid team of Doug Carey, Craig Chamberlain, Carson Reynolds, Max Moosman, and Kat and Andy Dibbel. 
Wish us wind and luck!
Sea ya
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport.